Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 09/01/1992 Gr 2-6-- Scieszka and Smith, the daring duo responsible for revealing The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989), return here with nine new exposes, all narrated by the ubiquitous Jack (of Beanstalk fame). Unlike the detailed retelling of the pigs' tale, most of these stories are shortened, one-joke versions that often trade their traditional morals for hilarity. ``The Stinky Cheese Man'' is an odoriferous cousin to the gingerbread boy; when he runs away, nobody wants to run after him. ``The Other Frog Prince'' wheedles a kiss only to reveal that he is just a tricky frog (as the princess wipes the frog slime off her lips); the Little Red Hen wanders frantically in and out of the book squawking about her wheat, her bread, her story, until she is finally (and permanently) squelched by Jack's giant. The broad satire extends even to book design, with a blurb that proclaims ``NEW! IMPROVED! FUNNY! GOOD! BUY! NOW!'' and a skewed table of contents crashing down on Chicken Licken and company several pages after they proclaim that the sky is falling. The illustrations are similar in style and mood to those in the earlier book, with the addition of more abstraction plus collage in some areas. The typeface, text size, and placement varies to become a vital part of the illustrations for some of the tales. Clearly, it is necessary to be familiar with the original folktales to understand the humor of these versions. Those in the know will laugh out loud. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA - Copyright 1992 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 09/01/1992 *Starred Review* Whatever Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith coproduce usually spells a raucous time for everyone (see interview on opposite page), and this book's no different. It's a continuation of the fairy tale fracturing the pair undertook in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, going that story nine better. Here are 10 complete stories! and 25 lavish paintings! that purposefully wreak havoc with such familiar nursery tales as Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, and Jack and the Beanstalk. The picture-book set will probably recognize the stories enough to know that what's going on isn't what's supposed to happen. But The Stinky Cheese Man isn't a book for little ones. It will take older children (that's teens along with 10s) to follow the disordered story lines and appreciate the narrative's dry wit, wordplay, and wacky, sophomoric jokes. There's more than a touch of black humor, too--Jack's giant eats the Little Red Hen as the book closes, and the Ugly Duckling never turns into a gorgeous swan. Smith's New Wave art is an intricate part of the whole, extending as well as reinforcing the narrative; the pictures are every bit as comically insolent and deliberately clever as the words, with Smith's dark palette giving them a moody feeling. An illustration sure to elicit school-yard belly laughs pictures the book's title character (whose head is an odiferous wheel of cheese) causing flowers to wilt, skunks to faint, and children to run screaming for home. But the high jinks go beyond plot and picture. Scieszka and Smith also play around with book design: type sizes vary from minute to majestic; one page is totally blank (this greatly upsets the Little Red Hen), while several others are filled with yellow smell squiggles. And there are other little surprises, some of which seem aimed more at adults than at kids: not often, for example, will you find such a rhetorical question as Who is this ISBN guy? or discover that book illustrations have been done in oil and vinegar. Every part of the book bears the loving, goofy stamp of its creators, and while their humor won't appeal to everyone, their endeavors will still attract a hefty following of readers--from 9 to 99. For fractured fairy tales of a different kind, see Brooke's Untold Tales. - Copyright 1992 Booklist.

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